This article will provide auto industry news as related to the auto repair business and how to resolve disagreements over disputed repair bills. If the charge is much higher than the estimate, or if the work was done without your authorization and you feel you've been overcharged, question the bill.
Have the shop write out the reasons for the difference in cost. Keep this written explanation together with the work estimate, final bill, and other paperwork. Make sure the auto repair shop returns your old parts. Shops might return some parts such as alternators and brake shoes to the supplier for a core, so you may not be able to get all of them.
Even if you're unsatisfied with the mechanic's explanation of the difference between the estimate and the final charge or feel you have been cheated pay the bill.
But making it crystal clear that you do not agree with it. Also explain the detailed steps you plan on using to get satisfaction. This can make even the toughest auto shop think about negotiating. But if they want to play hardball we can do that also.
You can then file a complaint with the Attorney General's Office and/or file a small claims court lawsuit against the mechanic. You can find your states Attorney General office in your phone book or you can Google it under auto industry news and information. If you refuse to pay a repair bill, even a bill in dispute the mechanic has the legal right to keep your car until you pay. This is called a mechanics lean. We must take the high road at all times to assure the law will be on our side.
Even if you feel cheated, you should not pay with a check so you can regain possession of your car and then stop payment on the check. This is against most State laws and your vehicle may still be repossessed. If you suspect that the auto repair shop has violated the law and your consumer rights and you can't get them to resolve the problem to your satisfaction your next step should be to take your car to another place.
Give the second mechanic a copy of your itemized parts and labor receipt and request an inspection of the repairs and parts. Get this report in writing. If you notice the same problem with your car is recurring, or find a new problem that should not have arisen, you will be in a better position to negotiate a refund from the first mechanic if you get a second mechanic's opinion of the work done in writing.
If you have an auto repair problem that the shop will not correct, your States Attorney General's Consumer Protection office and the Better Business Bureau both offer a complaint resolution process to help resolve your problem. For more auto industry news and information, contact: Federal Trade Commission Consumer Response Center: 1-866-653-4261
Other Resources available to you:The main office of your local American Automobile Association (AAA) motor club, listed under AAA in the telephone directory is also up on the latest auto industry news. Or Your state Attorney General Office of Consumer Protection Your state capital Many Attorneys General have toll-free consumer hot-lines. Check with your local directory assistance.
You can read the FTC Article about taking the scare out of auto repair. The report has some age on it but is still very useful and packed with good information. The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop and avoid them. To file a complaint or to get free auto industry news on consumer issues call toll-free 1-877-FTC-HELP.
The Federal Trade Commission enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft and other fraud-related complaints including auto repair into a secure online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and other participating countries.
No one likes to be forced to take action but you should also consider that you are most likely not the only person having trouble with this auto repair shop. You will be doing your civic duty and help other consumers avoid this repair shop by getting the word out. Its time for another quick story.
This may not qualify as auto industry news, but more of an insider's story. I worked for a dealer that played hardball with its customers. They had an exclusive area franchise and considered themselves the only game in town. If you decided to try another dealership of this brand you had to drive more than an hour.
This cornering of the local market was used by the dealership against its customers. The owner would get excited when customers would get irate and would usually handle the complaints in person, which is very unusual. He had a complete service department staff to handle such matters. However, he enjoyed it and would push everyone aside handling the consumer directly. He always responded the same to irate customer when they threatened to sue. "Me and my teams of lawyers have deep pockets and live for litigation" see you in court.
I remember many days when the owner and selected service department staff would dress up and go to court. The good news is, he lost as much as 50% of the time. When he came back from his lost court cases he was chewing nails with veins popping out of his head.
On one occasion we had a customer take a different route. The customer dressed up like a chicken and made a big picket sign. He took off from work and picketed the building from open till close. This picketers wife would take over so he could have lunch and bathroom breaks.
Well after 2 days the owner finally got a court injunction to stop the picketer. The picketer was removed with great force by local police, kicking and screaming comes to mind.
The funny part of the story was the dealerships employees were all pulling for the picketer. The owner treated his employees worse then his customers. I could write a whole book just about this one dealership. Look for my next auto industry entry and keep on top of the auto repair business.
This is just a page from my auto repair and auto industry secrets revealed e-book. Get more information on this valuable resource on my free auto repair book page.
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